「ODDS AND ENDS」


Nic & Worick’s Return to the Plot:

Last week our main duo were absent from all the action, and although a lot of people were disappointed by what went down, I was quite satisfied with the focus on the minor characters and how their plot threads all tied together. However, I knew we had to get some of Nic and Worick in this final episode, and thankfully, we did. Enough? That’s debatable, but one of the strongest scenes in the episode is the early interaction between Alex and Nic back at the apartment. It’s haunting, quiet, and shows that neither has to say that much to each other to understand what the other is thinking (and also that Alex’s sign language is improving!).

The visions of Alex’s past were pretty disturbing, especially seeing her POV of being raped by a Tag (and then saved by Nic?). She saw Barry as a savior – an opportunity to make it in the city and help her brother find a better life. Obviously, things did not turn that way, which makes this all the more brutal. I’ve always said that I have immense sympathy for Alex and everything she’s been through; the fact that she can stand strong after all of this is testament to her strength. Although her following Nic down the steps after their conversation wasn’t packed with action, it felt like an important moment between the two. Nic obviously wants to protect her, but Alex needed that second push before she listened. Of course, I would love for her to have a more active role in the story, but perhaps it was for the best that she didn’t get embroiled in the events of this rather confusing and disappointing finale.

As for Worick, his fight scene in the mansion was well-directed, despite the art being merely ‘fine’. That’s the thing with GANGSTA: even though the animation and quality of the drawings isn’t anything worth praising, the actual framing and direction is incredibly solid, showcasing a tone that is fitting with whatever dark event is being shown. Of course, Worick is just an ordinary human (as was brought up a few times this episode) but he made up for his lack in physical prowess with smart tactics. If this were a shonen anime, then he would likely have won there and then, but it wasn’t that simple… which leads to the majors problems with this episode.

An End that isn’t an End:

Let me remind everyone: this is the final episode. If this was just another episode, I’d be thoroughly entertained with what was set up and what went down with Worick, but as a finale, this fails (Is he dead or not? Will we ever know for sure?) Other anime have ended with cliffhangers or unresolved storylines, but usually there is already a second cour announced or you can easily discern that a popular series is likely to get a follow-up at some point. The problem is, GANGSTA is not that type of show. Manglobe sequels are a rarity, especially when they’re a commercial failure – as GANGSTA appears to be, based off preorders and general buzz.

We barely saw any of the Hunters this episode, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I thought we’d get a conclusion with the final villains in the final episode. It only makes sense, right? Instead we got a set-up episode composed of several little character moments, with a shock ending to keep us drawn to the screen. In the end, people are just going to irritated with what wasn’t delivered, and that they didn’t get any answers whatsoever.

Overview – Final Impressions:

GANGSTA started off as one of the best of the season, and stayed that way for a solid seven/eight weeks. Unfortunately, once the Hunters made their appearance, things took a turn for the worst. I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt a shift once these overpowered shonen-esque supervillains got involved in the action. It felt out-of-place, and a little disappointing after the carefully crafted exposition and well-paced character drama that we got for the first half. More of that would have resulted in this finishing just as strong as it started, but I suspect this is the direction the manga goes as well.

We dedicated a part of our last podcast to talking about GANGSTA, and how we all felt it was one of the best shows airing at the time. If you take a listen to what we had to say, you’ll understand just how much we all loved what we were getting. I can only speak for myself, but sadly in the end I’m slightly disappointed with GANGSTA. This final episode was the chance to tie up the loose ends and finish strongly, even if the Hunters themselves weren’t that exciting to watch. However, we got nothing. This was not an ending – it was just another episode, adapting another chapter, and clearly the staff didn’t care to create something anime-original or re-shift the source material in a way that would at least feel like an ending. Perhaps I should give Murase Shukou and Manglobe credit for sticking to the script up till the very end, but it still left a sour taste in my mouth when the credits started rolling and I knew there likely wouldn’t ever be another episode to follow this one.

If by some Christmas miracle we do get a sequel, then perhaps my complaints will be unwarranted, but from what I know about the studio and what I’ve gathered from GANGSTA’s popularity in Japan, it seems this will forever be remembered as unfinished rough gem that never hit the mainstream. It’s just a shame it had to end on a bum note, as well as the last few episodes being a downgrade from what we’d come to expect. Perhaps I’ll pick up the manga in search for some answers; I know that GANGSTA is a great story, and the writing is tremendous when it focuses on the characters that matter – those rooted in the murky shadows of Ergastulum, affected by its previous wars and current crimes. If we forget about all the Hunters and the non-ending, then it’s not too difficult to see how it could have been not just one of the best anime of this season, but of the year over all.

Full-length images: 10, 35.

37 Comments

  1. IT ENDED ON A CLIFF HANGER?!?!? U GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!!!!! Why!? Why?!?!?!? Sigh…season 2…there has to be one here somewhere…anywhere.. why?? Why?? Well off to read the manga!!! Darn it. Sigh.. summer anime:Great start, confusing endings.

    Kiminobokuwa
  2. I would not write the EP of as a total loss. There was the Nic / Alex segment and of course Worick Striker. There was a lot of material for one EP and that being the Final was kinda of a letdown

    Now I went to reference source besides the Manga and everything is quite interesting ! Things are more interwoven than you think !

    Now as far as the Hunters go (SuperNormals ) there just humans who are faster stronger !

    This anime still did better than most!

  3. I actually really enjoyed this episode. Not conclusive, no, but enjoyable, and after watching the original Berserk series no cliffhanger ever feels that bad. Admittedly I wasn’t a fan of the hunters either, and I do wish they’d concluded at least one plot point, but the tone of the episode was fantastic, and with the anime catching up to the manga I can’t really criticize them for sticking to it.
    I do hope there is a second season eventually, but even if this series ends up being an extended commercial for the manga I wouldn’t necessarily count that as a bad thing.

    Gyabo
  4. This anime was pretty blah in the end, in my opinion. Now, I never put it around the top of the season to begin with, but the characterdriven episodes of the first half were genuinely interesting. Our main trio played off of each other well and it succeeded in setting up these complex people living in a messed-up world.

    But the entire second half? Quite frankly, I thought it sucked. There were still the occasional nice character moments with our protagonists, but everything about the villains, from the politics involved to their cartoonish villainy, was just so utterly uninteresting. I stopped giving a damn entirely, already mentally relegating this show to the ‘utterly forgettable’ pile. This sham of an ending is just the icing on the cake in that regard. It’s not even making me want to seek out the manga – I just don’t care enough about knowing what happens next.

    Yeah, not a show I’m going to be missing when this season’s over.

    Dvalinn
      1. Sky Wizard was actually kind of fun after the weak first two episodes. Had a nice “underdogs going for the gold” vibe to it that I enjoyed, with some deeper character development. And the “bugs eat memories” episode was played out very well.

        I actually started watching this after I gave up on Gangsta in its last couple of episodes, and ended up powering through the thing with much more enjoyment than I thought was possible.

        Zora
  5. OK, that is just confusing. Why end right there? This is nowhere the finale of an anime, which tells us how poorly they have been handling the source material. Even Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which is the worst movie of the franchise (still very good, though), ends on a better note than this.

    bibotot
    1. Unless you want an anime original finale there is no ending to this arc to do, they are less than half a dozen episodes to the current manga chapter.

      So no, they didn’t mishandle the source material, it was actually very well done.

      Kurisu Vi Britannia
  6. Uhm.. Come’on, it is not as bad as it is as a standalone episode. I still put it under Shirayuki-hime (as my anime this season) but… there’s a very large gap in between now that I think of it.

    The stellar character interaction between the leads is still there, other characters were still given proper development and heck, the musical score’s still sharp with few hiccups in between. HOWEVER, this is the final episode that weirdly feels like the penultimate episode so I understand why many ended up disappointed with this show. Gangsta. struggled (and failed) when it tried to make its story grander in scope as the hunters never brought anything compelling to its already compelling plot. I’d even say that it stagnated the anime’s progress.

    Yes, it is kinda sad that the anime has caught up with the manga. A miracle could bring second season but I hope Manglobe will never touch this gem again. I mean, the team could’ve done something original to at least make the finale like an ending of a first cour, isn’t it? The animation and the artwork are also terrible to the point that I got distracted with my watching experience with this anime.

    Yet the first eight episodes are something that I will attest as the best first eight anime episodes this summer. Again, I am still on the fence that it is still good even after counting such disappointing ending. So, a low 7/10 for this one.

    1. The problem with Gangsta, and I’m speaking from a manga reader standpoint but I won’t spoil.

      It seems that the writer created a really good setting and characters but then decided that Nic and Doug were the only two interesting enough to give longer than a few mins. Then he moves onto Hunters completely abandoning Tag vs Tag after only what? maybe 4-5 fights?

      Kurisu Vi Britannia
      1. I guess I’ll echo some of what I see in the forums. It seems like Gangsta. is still in its world building phase and the publisher and Manglobe decided to have it an anime adaptation without even thinking that it will be like THIS. Ugh. Yeah, I see your point and it pains me to admit that these are right.

        Yet, so much potential that we will only see in the later volumes of the manga. I only know this series via anime so I don’t have that much to say aside from what I see. Well, I have also to give props to the writers for making Alex a very compelling character. I really like her til the end.

  7. Forget world building….maybe ill marathon this manga, some day??? Enough with this limp noodle that was GANGSTA………

    NOW..can we please continue BLACK LAGOON…..please!!! REEEEEEEVY!!!!!!!!

    BROOKLYN otaku
  8. What the fuck was that THING that’s supposed to be called an ending? Way to piss off people Manglobe. You couldn’t have at least removed the OP and ED for this final eps to use those extra mins to offer a short epilogue?

    Everything was fine with the ep too, if only it was just another ep and not the final.

    What a damn shame too, it was a great series overall. Alas, we were just left hanging on several fronts. Alex meeting up with her brother or seeing that plot point resolved somewhat? Delico & his sister? Marco & his currently kidnapped gf? And overall, the current chaos that’s being caused due to the hunters. We got a big middle finger, unless by some miracle we’ll ever get a 2nd season(not gonna hold my breath on that).

    As a whole Gangsta was at it’s peak when focusing on the characters that matter, which is most of them, though I totally agree that the introduction of the OP hunters with little-to-no development felt rather off.

    MgMaster
    1. Manglobe followed the manga very closely / there is lot of crazy revelations that follow !

      They dont have enough material for a 2nd season / I read to the latest CHP / BTW there is a prequel manga called Gangsta cursed !

      And the author is a female and has an illness that slows her down!

      I have rather wait and have good source material if there is another season!

      Yes the final was rushed / but it had a lot going on .

      The summer season has many episode delays / and Gate the confusion about the split cour!

      And there is bunch of anime that are going beyond the end date ! Unexpected ! It has become a widespread problem / just think they are overextending them selves / Time to do 30 anime shows instead of 50 or so!

      God Eater will finish in Winter / Working added an Hour final
      To Love Ru added EPS 13/ 15 as an hour special in Oct !

      What about Food Wars / Baby Steps / Arslan they are incomplete

      So Gangsta ended up where they thought it was safe / again not the best but far from being bad ! I have lots of complanits about the extended episodes etc !

      1. There’s so many issues this past season and before this year that hell, I may stop watching anime and watch cartoons now for a bit. The only series I’m gonna see is the new Gundam and S2 of K because the english dub was great as well as the movie. I agree with the issues you brought up and these companies should address them as it’s come to light that working conditions are atrocious and why the hell they won’t stand up I don’t know but that’s another discussion. Food Wars still has plenty of source material as the anime covers up to the end of the Autumn Elections and that’s maybe less than the first 100 chapters of the manga. The manga is really good past that as the rest of the Elite 10 are introduced and some character development with Erina & Soma especially regarding the former’s father. The anime will get another season I’m sure.

        Ziko577
  9. they followed the manga very closely and that’s what they could do with 12 episodes, I prefer this to inventing an anime only ending at least here we can hope for a secon season but not so soon coz the story in the manga in dragging soo much it wouldn’t be interesting, but they could make the animation better for the anime coz it was pretty shitty in the last episodes

    selma
  10. They should have done 1 or 2 more episodes.

    About where the English translated manga is at now would have been a perfect season 1 cliff hanger finale

    I think manga readers know what I’m talking about
    Show Spoiler ▼

    spades
  11. “Unfortunately, once the Hunters made their appearance, things took a turn for the worst. I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt a shift once these overpowered shonen-esque supervillains got involved in the action.”

    I think this ruined it for everyone to some extent. I assume they did it because manga sales in Japan weren’t great so they went the shonen route by introducing hunters….

    But Hunters are the worst writing things I have ever read simply due to what terrible contradictions they are.

    Corsica is a hypocrite… He’ll never work with Twilights… instead he’ll work with Hunters, who are Twilights that don’t have compensations and dependence on Celebrer…
    WTF You think Hunters would be hated more by people as they’re the bigger monsters…
    They’re existence in itself isn’t bad writing, just how they’re used in the story is

    Also no sure how many people agree but the use of all these chibi/young/young looking characters just started feeling out of place in the Gangsta universe. Doug and Nina being the exception…

    spades
  12. lol i just realized the real fail in this episode that I initially came in here to comment about….

    Granny Joel…. wasn’t facing Nicolas when making her request….. he didn’t catch a word of it.

    She’s definitely facing him in the manga though… silly anime guys, tried to make the scene seem more special but forgot Nico is deaf

    ** This isn’t me hating on anime or being one of those manga>anime guys… I had to check if the manga messed up on that as well… they simply didn’t… but if they did I’d be laughing at both (as I don’ think, Joel talking to herself and Nicolas politely standing behind her, is a sweet scene)

    Show Spoiler ▼

    spades
  13. IMHO, an ending will always make or break a show, and this one completely broke it. What started as an otherwise great anime ended up being a big disappointment. Biggest disappointment of the season for me.

    Man, those first couple of episodes were incredible, too. Thanks a lot, Manglobe.

    Mormegil
  14. Beware:

    I found in the Inet, that there is now an Spinoff of the Manga

    Gangsters: Cursed (i think. Pre arc of the Hunters.. Well the Titel Picture suggest me).. So Gangsta was perhaps not planed to be an anime success…

    WorldwideDepp
  15. GANGSTA started off as one of the best of the season, and stayed that way for a solid seven/eight weeks. Unfortunately, once the Hunters made their appearance, things took a turn for the worst.

    Would this be worthy of a future podcast topic? ——–> http://myanimelist.net/news/42419664
    I think this might have been a major influence on why that happened…
    Though its probably some sort of very juicy rumors until there’s official word on Manglobe’s fate.

    Techim
    1. “Further tweets by Hiyori Akishino, who worked as a prop designer for Manglobe’s adaptation of Hayate no Gotoku! Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (2012) and Hayate no Gotoku! Cuties (2013), raised concerns about the studio’s work. Akishino claims that her team was treated poorly during the production of both series and was not compensated with the proceeds from the English localization.”

      Damn, no wonder the art style of Hayate no Gotoku: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and HnG: Cuties looked so downgraded compared to Synergy SP and J.C. Staff. That said, if the news about this is true, the implication is downright disturbing.

      Might as well ask this: Do the anime production crew also get proceeds from tie-in merchandise (e.g.: Nendoroid sales)?

      As for this season finale (and I’m using the term very loosely) of GANGSTA., the only thing that I can say is: This turned out to be another example of an anime with source material that hasn’t matured yet… *sighs*

      Incognito
  16. Dropped this show when the hunters showed up. It started out great but turned out to be a disappointment towards the end… also, RIP Manglobe, despite the disappointment, they did produce a few good anime 🙁

    Misa

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